When Blogging Becomes a Slog – it’s WORK too you know…

This article is so so true.

As I read this I found myself nodding my head and sighing in agreement.
I have asked myself too “why” many times, and I have come to a realisation that heck, I can’t writing cos I love writing but I can’t write just cos I HAVE TO anymore.

In fact lately I’m been writing about other stuff other than eating out and food.
Because I have changed. My lifestyle has changed.

I’ve stopped attending 2-3 events each day. Because the events don’t interest me anymore. Because events nowadays are getting to be a bore.
They don’t excite, most are barely worth writing about while some invited a whole she-bang of “media”; relevant or otherwise and you wonder what are you doing there – to add into the headcount just so the event looks well-attended?

Here’s the article that I read from NY Times:
Just in case you can’t access the whole article online (NYT are by subscription) , you can read it all down here.

Link to actual article: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/garden/when-blogging-becomes-a-slog.html?referrer&_r=1


It started so innocently.

Earlier this month, John and Sherry Petersik, the husband-and-wife duo behind the hugely popular home-renovation blog Young House Love, apologized to their readers for not writing their regular Thursday post, and asked how they felt about shorter posts when “we can’t write something juicy.”

The casual visitor to Young House Love would hardly have noticed a lack of industriousness. The Petersiks, who are in their early 30s and live in Richmond, Va., have bought and renovated three homes in the last eight years, each project bigger than the last, while also publishing a best-selling how-to book, designing a line of wall hooks sold by Target, decorating an entire show house, having two children and blogging, tweeting and Instagramming every last detail of it. Young House Love has an almost mind-numbing amount of D.I.Y. content, like instructions on how to install laundry-room cabinets and how to stain concrete floors, all of it delivered step-by-step in the cheerful, self-deprecating, broadly comic tone that has made the Petersiks Internet stars.

But some loyal readers had lately noticed a decrease in quantity and quality. There were more product giveaways, fewer in-depth tutorials. The Petersiks’ trademark gung-ho enthusiasm seemed forced. And since the birth of their second child, Teddy, in April, they were increasingly voicing their difficulty in balancing work and family.

“I need a little less online, and a little more in life.” — Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind.


In hundreds of replies to the Petersiks’ query, these and other concerns were raised, sometimes bluntly. One commenter named Margaret said she had lost interest in Young House Love because each of the couple’s three homes “look exactly the same,” and complained they decorate with “cheap furniture.” The couple shouldn’t use their children as an excuse for a lack of posts, Margaret added, because they “make big bucks” from their blog.

Other readers rushed to the Petersiks’ defense, and the comment thread devolved into the tedious back-and-forth web forums tend to.

After absorbing the criticism, the couple responded in a post titled “Feeeeeelings,” in which they confessed to “feeling off for a while” and missing the days when “we did this for the love.”
Although they had scaled back outside projects to recommit to the blog, they were unable to shake the sense of “letting you guys down repeatedly.” They had decided to step away from Young House Love for an indeterminate period and explore other career options. The unexpected announcement has generated more than 4,000 comments so far.

The Petersiks declined to be interviewed for this article; Ms. Petersik responded in an email that “we really would like to clear our heads and refocus.”
But they are not alone in their experience. Blogger burnout seems to be something that many of their colleagues in the world of home and D.I.Y. blogs, most of them in their 20s and early 30s, can relate to as well.

“I just sat there and couldn’t move. This is the week of burnout.” — Brittany Jepsen, The House That Lars Built


Is the first generation of design bloggers aging out of the blogosphere? Or is this just a new twist on an old business story, updated for the Internet age?

Pam Kueber, the midcentury design expert behind the blog Retro Renovation, is 55, and she sees the Petersiks’ escalating stress levels and unhappiness simply as evidence of the latter: A passion turns into a hobby, which becomes a full-time career.
“And in some predictable period of time, it consumes your life and sucks the joy out if it,” said Ms. Kueber, finishing the arc. “That last part of the Shakespearean tragedy is what you have to be mindful of not letting happen.”

A tricky thing to avoid as a full-time blogger, considering that the Internet never sleeps, readers want fresh content daily and new social media platforms must be mastered and added to the already demanding workload.
Add to that the economic challenges of blogging full time.

As Grace Bonney of Design Sponge lamented earlier this year in a “State of the Blog Union,” advertising rates have dropped significantly because advertisers are flooded with options.

*** (Rebecca Saw)
I have to add in here –> this is true. So many bloggers! It’s quantity over quality now.
I run a blog advertising agency and we deal with clients looking into engaging bloggers everyday. Some clients are totally clueless (which is still fine cos that’s why my agency Rouge Communications is there for) but some if not MOST thinks blogging is easy, everyone is a blogger worth engaging and expects bloggers to work/attend an event/write/ for free or in exchange for “an experience”, a goody bag, some products (that you’ll never use) or food/meal.

Here’s an infographic to sum things up nicely:

hiring a blogger


Those who don’t understand will say “But bloggers blog for fun, it’s about sharing, so why are they asking for compensation now?”
Well, I would personally reply: “Well, then is your company/business a Non-profit organisation? You are asking us (bloggers) to help you market YOUR products so YOU can make money and our readership/following/ comes from hours/weeks/years of hardwork and TIME. 
So how is it that this “help” is only ONE way?”

Brand managers, marketing teams, advertisers – think about it.

…. continue from the original article.. 

To earn money, many bloggers have had to embrace sponsored content, breeding distrust among readers. Several Young House Love readers, for instance, thought the giveaways were product placements in disguise, even though the Petersiks maintained they weren’t compensated for doing them.

“If readers begin to suspect that your content is heavy on product placement, if they see excessive amounts of sponsored posts, you risk losing what’s most important, which is trust and authenticity,” said Ms. Kueber, who still relies largely on banner ads and has so far done only two sponsored posts.

And blogs that focus on the home come with their own particular set of challenges. Unlike a personal style blog, in which generating new content can be as simple as getting dressed in the morning, producing a decorating or D.I.Y. blog involves considerable time, expense and domestic upheaval.

Brittany Watson Jepsen writes The House That Lars Built, a blog with a clean Scandinavian aesthetic. Her life hasn’t been nearly as streamlined lately. “Right now, our home is a disaster of props because we had four photo shoots this week,” said Ms. Jepsen, 32, who shares an apartment with her husband, Paul Jepsen, in Provo, Utah. “Tuesday night I just sat there and I couldn’t move. This is the week of burnout.”

And when Ms. Jepsen posts one of her craft projects, like making a custom coverlet for a camp chair, she said, it may take her days to shop for the materials and create, style and photograph it. Then she has to figure out a way to translate it to her readers in six easy steps. “D.I.Y. takes a lot of planning, executing and money,” she said. “Even the simplest of projects take quite a bit of materials.”

It gets more complicated when you’re using your house as the staging ground, as Mandi Gubler does. Ms. Gubler, 31, runs the decorating and D.I.Y. blog Vintage Revivals, and as her loyal readers know, her home in southern Utah has been decorated, redecorated and decorated again.

“My mom comes to my house and there’s this revolving door of furniture,” Ms. Gubler said. “She can’t understand it.”

She added: “That’s the process. I love when a room is done, but let’s be honest: It’s going to be changed.”

Retro Renovation has evolved into a practical resource for other vintage-minded renovators, but Ms. Kueber’s blog got its initial boost when she redid the kitchen of her own house in Lenox, Mass., using 1963 Geneva steel cabinets. Despite the traffic boost that created, she said, “I really don’t want to be knocking down any more walls.”

Ms. Kueber suspects the Petersiks’ never-ending home construction contributed to their feelings of burnout and their decision to re-examine their careers. “Have you had to renovate a house?” Ms. Kueber said. “It’s worse than having kids. Making a living by living in chaos might get old.”

The Petersiks were early adopters of the blog format and hardly could have anticipated the success and opportunities that would result from telling strangers about redoing the dreary den of their starter home.
But from the outset, the couple forged an intimate bond with their audience that went beyond fix-it projects. When they staged their D.I.Y. wedding in the backyard in 2007, they posted an album’s worth of photos, complete with a cost breakdown (cupcakes and s’mores: $125).
And when Ms. Petersik had life-threatening complications during the birth of their first child, she shared the emotional story online.

The couple also worked tirelessly. Barely had they finished one total home redo when they bought another fixer-upper and then a third, as if they were trapped on a house-jumping hamster wheel by the need to generate blog content. Last November, the couple posted a to-do list for their latest home, a stately brick four-bedroom with a showcase lawn. If you print the list, it runs to 20 pages. You could exhaust yourself just reading it.

Erin Loechner, who publishes the blog Design for Mankind, said that professional bloggers like herself take on very demanding, self-imposed workloads. “I think there’s a fear that if we post less, our readers will find that content elsewhere,” she said. And yet many bloggers don’t want to complain for fear of sounding whiny or ungrateful.

Ms. Loechner was feeling fried two years ago, after the birth of her daughter and a demanding project in which she renovated her home in Fort Wayne, Ind., chronicling it for HGTV.com. She had begun blogging in 2001, as a college student, and had ridden an incredible, unexpected wave. Now, as a new mother nearing 30, Ms. Loechner wondered if blogging at her current pace was sustainable.

In a manifesto she posted online, she informed readers that she was going to blog less frequently but with greater depth, so she could spend more time with her family, an approach she called “slow blogging.” She paid enough attention to her web traffic to secure corporate sponsorships, but didn’t play the numbers game.

Do I want to pour energy into the lives of complete strangers online or the people under my roof?” Ms. Loechner recalled asking herself. “I think you can do both. But I needed a little less online and a little more in life.”

It perhaps helps if blogging isn’t a family business. Though he is sometimes involved with her projects, Ms. Loechner’s husband, Ken, is a film editor. Ms. Gubler’s husband, Courtney, manages a restaurant, and she credits him with keeping her from becoming consumed by her blog.

Lately, work-life balance conversations in the Gubler household have revolved around the Nugget, the vintage camper Ms. Gubler is renovating, a process she is documenting on Vintage Revivals. “I’ll be like, ‘We need to work on the Nugget!’ ” Ms. Gubler said. “He’s like: ‘I freaking hate the Nugget. Why is the Nugget not done yet?’ ”

But Ms. Gubler’s husband has helped her in another way. His mother enjoys the process of decorating as much as his wife, and so Ms. Gubler has been using her mother-in-law’s home as a canvas. “We’ve redone my mother-in-law’s kitchen, living room, office,” she said, all for the blog.

Another strategy for staying sane as a home blogger is to rent a studio, as Justina Blakeney plans to do. Ms. Blakeney, 35, whose bohemian style is on display on her blog, JustinaBlakeney.com, said that lately the “Jungalow” — the name she has given to her plant-filled house in Los Angeles — has turned to chaos. “I have craft projects everywhere, my desk is currently in my living room and I do all my flower art on our patio,” Ms. Blakeney wrote in an email. “It’s not even a beautiful mess. It’s just a mess.”

With any luck, she added, the studio “will help remedy the situation even just a little bit.”

Ms. Jepsen, too, has signed a lease on a studio, after discovering the limitations of her home. “If I had the budget and manpower — a huge Martha Stewart team — I’d be creating false walls or painting my house all the time,” she said. “But I’ve outgrown my apartment. I can no longer work here.”

One wonders what the Petersiks will do should they decide to resume Young House Love. Much of the blog’s content and appeal has derived from seeing them transform their own homes; a studio space or a third-party house doesn’t seem like a solution.

Indeed, the very aspects that fueled their success — their machinelike content-generation, the close personal engagement with readers that bordered on oversharing, the romance of being a husband-and-wife D.I.Y. blogging team — may turn out to be the things that make continuing the blog in its current form impossible.

It wasn’t always so. Go back far enough in the Young House Love archives and you will find the couple’s very first post, dated Sept. 24, 2007. “We’re about a month into blogging,” Mr. Petersik wrote in reply to a reader’s wish of good luck. “And we’re still loving it.

**Rebecca Saw
Well guys, I been in blogging for 5 years.. and I’m still loving it… it gets exhausting.. it gets ugly sometimes (bloggers’ politics) but I’ll like to think of it this way.. every industry who involves humans would have complications. LOL.


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